Government and Political Roundup: Republicans used redistricting to keep conservatives from losing electionsWisconsin News
-- Newly-released documents show that Wisconsin legislative Republicans talked privately about using the redistricting process to keep conservative incumbents from losing elections.
Newly-released documents show that Wisconsin legislative Republicans talked privately about using the redistricting process to keep conservative incumbents from losing elections. Democrat Mark Miller asked for the documents after he became the Senate’s Majority Leader last month – and he released them yesterday. G-O-P leaders have repeatedly said that political gain was not their main goal in redistricting – which is required every 10 years to make sure the districts have relatively equal populations. But in one e-mail, Senate Republican Leah Vukmir (vook’-meer) of Wauwatosa suggested that at least one Democratic area be taken out of her district. Another report outlined how many districts would be safe for Republicans and Democrats, and how many could go either way at election time. But legislative aide Tad Ottman told the Wisconsin State Journal the chart did not reflect the final breakdown. Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald said his goal was to re-draw the maps according to the constitutional requirements. But he never said there were not considerations given to incumbents. Assembly Finance chair Robin Vos said his party’s leaders always admitted the maps could help the G-O-P, but only marginally. But Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca called the new documents a deceitful “smoking gun” which showed all of the G-O-P’s efforts were quote, “political, partisan, and about protecting their power.” The new districts will be used for the first time in the August 14th partisan primaries.
Milwaukee County has paid back 229-thousand-dollars to the federal government, for improperly allocating block grant funds from last year. Officials said the county gave a lot of the grant money to programs in the city of Milwaukee – and the county wasn’t supposed to do that, because the city has its own block grant allocations. Milwaukee County gets about one-point-three million dollars a year in federal block grants for an array of programs which help the poor, homeless, and disabled. Programs in West Allis and Wauwatosa are also off limits for the county’s allocation, since they also get their own. County officials say they will not ask the local programs to give the money back – because they did not know about the mis-allocation until just recently. County tax dollars covered the reimbursement to HUD.